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From the Fields: A normal year

Last week, I mentioned that I had spent 29 years with the Illinois State Police, and now retired, I find myself full-time at home on our centennial farm in Greenville. Talk about a career change — my habits and even the way I approach my day-to-day life are all very different now. You could say that I have been learning to adapt to a “new normal” for quite some time now. Most of all, I’ve discovered a newfound transparency with my life, and I enjoy being able to now share details about what we do on the farm and sharing the life experiences I’ve been blessed to gather down in Greenville.

Transparency, and sharing, is essential when collaborating with other like-minded people to further your farming profitability. This week, I have spoken with farm leaders from Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota and North Dakota. We discussed the state of our farming operations considering the challenges of COVID-19, China, commodity prices and, of course, weather. I found it was refreshing to be transparent with these “salt of the earth” farmers. This new normal allows me to learn, grow and become encouraged by hearing other farmer’s life experiences. And, for as much as we have going on in the world that is so uncertain right now, there is some comfort in that we are having a normal growing season on the farm this summer.

This week, my brother, Jerry, applied 32% urea ammonium nitrate and ammonium thiosulfate to our May 31 planted corn. We received an inch of rain Monday, bringing the applications to the root system. Jerry can be heard saying, “We are a few inches away from a great corn crop” — meaning we need another normal rain in August to push our corn towards a productive year. Our corn planted in April has tasseled while our late May corn is getting ready to tassel. Beans are flowering, and we applied Enlist early last week and anticipate applying Aproach Prima fungicide and Leverage 360 insecticide this week. Last year was not a normal year and we were unable to apply all the fungicide and insecticide on our fields. We found a 7- to 10-bushel per acre yield increase with the fields having the applications.

As the rest of this growing season progresses, I hope you are finding as much normalcy you can about your days, and I look forward to bringing you along on our family farming experiences.

Greenville, Ill.

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